Recent developments involving the American Red Cross

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Some recent developments involving the American Red Cross, during what its leaders acknowledge has been one of the most challenging periods in its history:

n December 2004: Tsunami strikes Indian Ocean; American Red Cross raises $570 million to assist relief efforts, but spends less than one-third within a year of the disaster.

n August 2005: Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands. In ensuing months, Red Cross raises $2 billion for hurricane relief.

n September 2005: Hurricane Wilma hits Gulf Coast. Red Cross encounters sharp criticism of its hurricane relief efforts and pressure to share funds with smaller nonprofits. Its president, Marsha Evans, acknowledges some flaws in the response.

n December 2005: Evans steps down after clashes with Red Cross board of governors. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asks to review the charity’s records.

n February 2006: Red Cross announces independent audit to help improve its self-governance system.

n March 2006: Pressed by Congress, Red Cross says it is investigating claims that volunteers engaged in widespread theft after Katrina; the FBI also investigates.

n April 2006: Red Cross prepares an overhaul of its disaster-response system to be presented at National Hurricane Conference in Florida.

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